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Preparing for Medical Procedures

What to expect when you are having a medical procedure.

If your procedure or surgery is elective or scheduled ahead of time, there are some things you can do to help manage your diabetes before, during and after the surgery.

  • Take good care of yourself during the time before surgery. Eat healthy, exercise if permitted, stop smoking and drinking alcohol or reduce the amount you smoke and drink. Take all your medications as prescribed.
  • Be sure the surgeon or doctor preforming the surgery or procedure knows what type of diabetes you have and knows what medicine and/or insulins you take for diabetes.
  • Be sure to bring an accurate list of your medications including your diabetes medications and insulin to the appointment. Doses are important. If you use a sliding scale to determine your insulin dose, bring the written scale with you.
  • Follow the instructions provided by your surgeon or the doctor prior to your procedure, especially when to stop eating and drinking.

Follow the instructions provided by your surgeon or the doctor performing your procedure about which diabetic medications to take the night before surgery and the morning of surgery.

  • Often pills for diabetes are not taken the morning of a surgery or procedure because they can cause low blood sugar if you are not allowed to eat. Insulin doses may be reduced depending on what time of day the procedure is scheduled and how long you will not be allowed to eat.
  • If the surgeon or doctor has not given you instruction about which diabetic medications to take, call the doctor who prescribes your diabetic medications for guidance. Do not wait until the day before surgery to call the doctor.
  • People with type 1 diabetics should always take their basal insulin or keep their pump on.
  • If you use an insulin pump, call your endocrinologist or the doctor who adjusts the pump. He/She will develop a plan for adjusting the insulin doses in your pump in preparation for your procedure.
  • Even if you are told to not take your diabetic medications or insulin, continue to check your blood sugar as prescribed and monitor for symptoms of low or high blood sugar.
  • If you are going home the same day after the procedure or surgery, bring your diabetic medications and/or insulin with you to take afterwards.
  • Metformin or Glucophage should not be taken for 48 hours after IV contrast is given. IV contrast is used during CT scans and angiograms.